President Tsai addresses St. Vincent and the Grenadines House of Assembly
President Tsai Ing-wen continued her Journey of Freedom, Democracy, and Sustainability on the afternoon of July 16 local time (morning of July 17 Taipei time) in an address to the House of Assembly of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. In her remarks, the president thanked St. Vincent and the Grenadines for their long-term support for Taiwan's international participation, and expressed hope that together, our countries can create a cooperative model for sustainable development, and make our world a better place for future generations.
Upon arrival, President Tsai, accompanied by Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, proceeded to the reception area. After the performance of the two countries' national anthems, President Tsai reviewed the military honor guard, and the police honor guard fired a 21-gun salute to welcome the president. President Tsai was then escorted by Prime Minister Gonsalves and Speaker Jomo Thomas into the House of Assembly to deliver a speech.
The following is the full text of the president's remarks:
This is my first visit to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines as President of the Republic of China (Taiwan). I want to thank Prime Minister Gonsalves and Speaker Thomas for offering me this opportunity to address your House of Assembly on behalf of the people of Taiwan.
I also want to congratulate your country on being elected as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council. Promoting world peace and security in this important international body is a high honor, and a great achievement. As longtime allies, we share in your pride.
I have always admired your country's willingness to speak up on the international stage, especially on key issues like climate change and sustainable development.
Although Taiwan is not a member of the UN, we have always been a responsible member of the international community. Like you, we are dedicated to achieving the UN's Sustainable Development Goals, and submit voluntary national reviews. We are keen to cooperate with international partners, because climate change is a global issue that requires global cooperation.
And in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, we have created an important model that sets the standard for sustainable cooperation.
Our "banana revitalization project" is helping achieve food security, ensuring access to nutritious foods, and fostering sustainable agriculture. I know that bananas have long been a cornerstone of your country's economy. Using Taiwan's strength in agricultural technology, we will revitalize the banana industry in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
Taiwan's Mackay Memorial Hospital is also working to promote health and well-being in your country by jointly implementing a Capacity Building Project to prevent and control diabetes. We are equipping local medical personnel with stronger care capabilities, and teaching the public about diabetes prevention, care, and self-management. Together, we are giving people the ability to take charge of their own health.
Our joint Intelligent Bus Management & Monitoring System Project exemplifies our commitment to resilient infrastructure. With this project, we will establish the first smart transportation system in the Caribbean right here in Saint Vincent, and help Vincentians make better use of public transportation.
We are also working hard to cultivate human capital. Each year, we award scholarships for outstanding local students to study in Taiwan, ensuring their equal access to high-quality education. Graduates bring crucial knowledge and skills back to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and apply what they've learned to give back to their communities.
We also offer local training courses in the food and beverage, tourism, plumbing, and electrical repair industries. Students can quickly gain practical job skills, and make crucial contributions to the Vincentian economy.
At noon today, I had the chance to meet with representatives from the Taiwan alumni association here. We were joined by 16 students who will soon embark on their journey to an advanced degree in Taiwan. I am delighted, and proud, that Taiwan is doing our part to cultivate talent here.
Through everything that we do together, I want your people, and the world, to see that we can contribute more to the world—and that we are determined to do so.
So on behalf of the people of Taiwan, I want to take this opportunity to thank Saint Vincent and the Grenadines for your long-term support for our international participation, and for speaking up on our behalf.
At last year's UN General Assembly General Debate, Prime Minister Gonsalves said it best: "There is simply no principled basis to deny Taiwan the right to participate in the work of the specialized agencies of the United Nations."
We also have another supportive friend here with us today, the Honourable Mr. Browne, Minister of Health and the Environment. He has quite a following in Taiwan. Last May at the World Health Assembly, Minister Browne said that the interests of Taiwan's 23 million people should not be held ransom by political preferences. His courageous words have stayed with me to this day.
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines has always been a loyal ally, and a close partner. We share a common vision for universal human rights. So I hope that you will continue to support Taiwan in the international arena as we work together to achieve the UN's Sustainable Development Goals, and make our world a better place for future generations.
Finally, I want to thank all the Members of the House of Assembly for your decision to establish an embassy in Taiwan. The people of Taiwan welcome you with open arms. I am confident this new embassy will lead to new opportunities for cooperation, and even stronger friendship between our countries.
I look forward to your continued support in the international arena, and for continued strength in our partnership. As we face the challenges that lie ahead, may our countries prosper, and our alliance endure. Thank you. (End of President Tsai's remarks)
In his remarks, Speaker Thomas offered a warm welcome to President Tsai and her delegation, and said this was the second time an ROC president addressed the St. Vincent and the Grenadines House of Assembly, showing how staunch our diplomatic friendship is.
Speaker Thomas mentioned that SVG was recently elected as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, and they look forward to working with countries around the world for a better world. Taiwan understands SVG's ideals, he said, and is willing to cooperate with them. The solid bond between Taiwan and SVG has benefited people in both countries. The people of SVG are grateful for the assistance Taiwan has provided in the fields of agriculture, ICT, infrastructure, and personnel training, and SVG will continue to support Taiwan in the international community. And as Taiwan's first female president, he said, President Tsai's outstanding achievements and leadership have inspired many women in SVG.